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Rommel's reputation - deserved or political ploy?

Discussion in 'North Africa: Western Desert Campaigns 1940 to Ope' started by brkeseel, Jul 27, 2014.

  1. LJAd

    LJAd Well-Known Member

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    The result of the German tactic in 1918 was the defeat of Germany .An elastic defense in 1944 also would have resulted in a German defeat .:retreat meant extension of the front and Germany had not the forces to defend a longer frontline .
     
  2. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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    In 1918 the Germans turned into a robbing thief gang because they were hungry and did not follow orders anymore. If they had been more organised who knows. Also the massive influenza epidemic had its toll.

    For Germans in 1944 not losing the tanks, artillery and motorised vehicles in Falaise and during retreat to German borders would have meant a very different kind of war by Sept 1944. It was all Hitler´s big idea and resulted in massive losses in men etc.
     
  3. harolds

    harolds Member

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    Merdiolu: Referring to your post of June 25th, I'm thinking you haven't read much on the Normandy campaign. The Germans WERE using an elastic defense! A prime example of that would be the Goodwood battle. They were also using it successfully (up to a point) with the Americans in the bocage. As LJad pointed out, as the lines kept getting longer the defenses got thinner-and thinner still due to casualties. As the bridgehead expanded, the Allies had more space to bring in more troops and material. Therefore, since Rommel couldn't get Hitler to bring down additional troops from 15th Armee, then it was only a matter of time before the defenses broke. You seem to think it was all Rommel's fault but he had to work under Hitler who was by that time a very sick, paranoid, man with almost zero trust in Heer generals. After July 20th what little trust he had in his generals was totally gone.
     
  4. merdiolu

    merdiolu Member

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    I was primarily talking about pre D-Day German strategy controversy to defeat the invasion between Rommel and Von Rundstedt. Von Rundstedt wanted to organize more defences in interior of France to slow down and make Allied advance bleed (much like in Eastern Front and Italy) Neither Rommel nor Hitler agreed , obseseed with coastal defence and defeating Allied landings on water's edge. But Von Rundstedt was aware that German Armed Forces lacked means to accomplish that. Rommel and Hitler were dreaming another Gallipoli , Dunkirk or Dieppe. The problem with this thinking was Allies vastly improved thir amphibious operations skills and means..(as seen in Mediterranean in 1942-43)
     
  5. m kenny

    m kenny Member

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    'Long' front in Normandy does not mean anything like that term used in other campaigns. Everything was crammed into a very small area and given the German had the interior lines they could walk from one 'front' to another in a couple of hours. Normandy was a classic attack down the middle head on frontal assault with no room for any fancy outflanking moves. A WW1 infantry slogging match with casualties to match.
    GOODWOOD was not an elastic defence but a multi-layered defensive belt with the heaviest concentration of panzers per mile than anywhere else in WW2.
     
  6. LJAd

    LJAd Well-Known Member

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    The Allies had an overwhelming superiority in aircraft,artillery ,tanks and mobile divisions .To retreat was giving the Allies the space to deploy their advantages .In Italy and the SU,the result of the German tactic was that the Soviets arrived in Berlin and the Allies advanced to Milan and Bologna .

    In the OTL it took the Allies 10 weeks to break out of Normandy.If in the ATL Normandy had been given up,after 10 weeks the Allies would be already in Belgium and on the German border .
     
  7. Triton

    Triton New Member

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    R

    Yes, but they need a port to unload all the tanks, artillery, fuel, ammunition etc. and Rommel hoped, that a strong defence of the ports would possibly allow the Wehrmacht to clean a beachhead from ill-supplied landing-forces. Even against air superiority and naval gunnery.
    That the battleships, cruisers, monitors etc. could stay in close distance to the beaches unharmed for weeks was beyond Rommels imagination. The Mulberry ports were also unknown to him.

    When the Allies left the Normandy, Rommel knew, that the war was lost.
     
  8. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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    On goodwood I did read several books that unfortunately are in my book store somewhere but the points I collected can be found in the Forums:

    [SIZE=small]http://www.ww2f.com/topic/4034-british-armour-in-normandy/[/SIZE]

    [SIZE=small]I think the plan was too much based on the bombing´s as there were loads of other points that made the attack totally sad-looking:

    1. the start up point was small, all the troops didn´t fit there, a traffic jam. As well four bridges available only caused that tanks went ahead but artillery followed very late behind.I guess by the first evening there was a huge traffic jam at the starting point still.

    2. As well the first phase for the tanks was to pass the British mine fields one by one and the clearing of the route had to be done seconds before the beginning of the attack.

    3. There was an airman in the tanks who was supposed to contact the allied aircraft where to attack, except that the Germans ( who knew to destroy the commander tanks first naturally ) killed his tank first, and later on nobody else suitable was found to the job. So the group of planes had to do on their own.

    4. The reconnaissance did not notice LAH tanks come in ( and more tanks destruction happened ) as the Panthers and Stug´s and others could shoot the allied tankd in the hull-down position.

    By the way, von Luck mentions that the British did not do reconnaissance further than 7 kilometers behind the lines??? Can it be?

    5. there was also a storm at one point during the 19th that stopped the air force working for the rest of the day.
    [/SIZE]

    [SIZE=small]6.“Quote:The biggest failure in doctrine though was the distinct lack of co-operation between the armour and infantry”[/SIZE]
    [SIZE=small] [/SIZE]
    [SIZE=small]I don´t think there was any lack actually as the infantry was separated from tanks because the Allied command HAD ORDERED SO to keep the men losses down.[/SIZE]
    [SIZE=small]If the infantry had been there maybe they could have eliminated the 88´s...who knows?[/SIZE]
    [SIZE=small] [/SIZE]
    [SIZE=small]7. . Somehow the reconnaissance failed to notice that Caen was empty of Germans and even though the main bombing did destroy alot of German tanks the main reserves were totally untouched just outside the city. AS well the 5-line defence ring was totally unnoticed by the Allied reconnaissance. [/SIZE]
     
  9. m kenny

    m kenny Member

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    As someone who plotted several 1000's of recce pics I can tell you that single missions of 70 pics were in 20-40 km strips. Luck is wrong-again!
    Both sides built huge observation towers that could see for several miles.

    [​IMG]
     
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  10. m kenny

    m kenny Member

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    Get a map and look at the frontage for GOODWOOD. Then look at the whole of 21st AG frontage facing the Germans. Can anyone tell me how it might be possible to find a spot to launch a 'surprise' attack?
    I really would like to know the alternatives. Every action in Normandy was a brutal frontal attack against well prepared opposition.
     
  11. m kenny

    m kenny Member

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    I did a check on a map that allows distance measure. From Cahagnes (left below Bayeux) to Troarn (right,east of Caen) is 27 miles in a straight line and mainly behind a river, the Odon.
     
  12. harolds

    harolds Member

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    Triton: you may be wrong in your statement that a port was needed. Actually, although a deep water port(s) were at some point going to be needed, by the time the Allies broke out most of the equipment, supplies, reinforcements, replacements, etc. were still coming in over the beaches. By that time, IIRC, only one MULBERRY was totally up and running and Cherborg was still being cleared of demolition problems. To paraphrase Churchill, (and I don't think this is an overstatement) the fate of democracy, freedom and civilization rested on the lowly LST.
     
  13. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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    If there was a 5-ring defence belt was this mentioned in the Allied recon? Or was this considered as a thin defence line that would crunble due to bombing and attack like the Germans did in Kursk? Do you have info on this?

    I remember reading that the Allied forces believed during the attack that nothing could have survived the bombing according to the men who saw the destruction.
     
  14. Triton

    Triton New Member

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    It was a "dogma" of the german High Command that the success of an allied invasion depends on their ability to capture a deep water port soon. This is why Normandie was regarded as unlikely to be the main target of an invasion and why even atlantic ports like St.Nazaire were prepared against an invasion.

    I suggest that even Rommel underestimated how severly circumstances have changed since the Dieppe-Raid of 1942. At that time, the Luftwaffe could gain local air superiority (thanks to the FW 190) and capital ships didn't dare to stay near the coast at full daylight. In the conditions of Dieppe a great amount of men and equipment could impossibly be supplied.
     
  15. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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    I always wondered about Dieppe that the lesson is said to be you cannot capture a harbour by going straight in. However, the tanks could not leave the beach due to the obstacles the Germans had put to stop this kinda thing. What if the tanks HAD been able to leave the beach and reach their goal...??
     
  16. LJAd

    LJAd Well-Known Member

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    And,what was the goal ? (or better: what were the goals)
     
  17. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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    I am sure you have read books and discussed this with us earlier but LJAd just wants to play a little game here.... ;)

    ____________

    I don´t have the book but I recall it was a hit-and run, just to show that the operation could take control of an area, even if it was a small area just´in the perimeter of Dieppe, but this did not take place and was considered a failure.

    http://www.junobeach.org/canada-in-wwii/articles/the-dieppe-raid/

    The Calgary Regiment tanks arrived soon after the infantry: 29 got off the LCA but two fell into deep water. Of the remaining 27, 15 made it across the seawall between the beach and the boardwalk, as it was not very high in places. Without engineers, they were unable to eliminate obstacles that blocked their way into the city and were forced to return to the beach where one after the other they got hit or bellied in the beach shingle. Still able to fire, the 14th Regiment’s tanks protected the infantry’s retreat to the very end.

    -----------

    [SIZE=small]Just read a while ago Neillands´ Dieppe raid book. It seems , at least according to him, that the troops were left without cover for the operation even though alot of action happened in the air, the sea etc.

    1. Some bombing of Dieppe took place beforehand but this only warned the Germans that something was going to happen

    2.Once the Hurricanes had attacked the defensive positions before the beginning of invasion there was no more actual protection from the sky to the troops

    3. The ships giving naval artillery protection were too lightly armed and could not put out the bunkers etc and could not help the troops by their fire power.

    4. The planning was not good in case something went wrong. The only time the operation could be cancelled was around 3 o´clock a.m. and after that it was all go-go-go without a possibility to cancel the operation.

    5. Mostly losses took place during RETREAT and thus all the planning beforehand was not done properly.[/SIZE]

    [SIZE=small]---------[/SIZE]

    [SIZE=small]From the Neillands´ book

    " One of the minor myths of the Dieppe operation is that the tanks remained stuck on the shingle. In fact, there were 29 tanks put ashore, and of these fifteen got off the beach and onto the promenade. It was here where their problems really began. The exits were blocked with AT obstacles, the task of removing which belonged to the Canadian engineers, and most of them had been killed..."[/SIZE]
     
  18. Triton

    Triton New Member

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    The goals of the Dieppe Raid?
    To keep the Wehrmacht busy and Stalin calm.
    Yes, it was sort of an experiment, if an invasion was possible and what was needed, but I don't think, that 2 years later these lessons were of a high value.
     
  19. LJAd

    LJAd Well-Known Member

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    No : these were not the goals,but the WHY ? which is not the same.

    Afaics,the goals were

    1)To transport a force over the channel

    2)To land this force on the occupied coast of France

    3) To hold this force as long as possible on the coast

    4) To occupy (for some hours) a harbour ? But I am not sure of point 4

    5)To bring as much as possible the force back to Britain .
     
  20. LJAd

    LJAd Well-Known Member

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    About the importance of a port for the Allies : the (successful) use of Mulberry does not prove that the Allies could do without port .
     

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